Everyone knows the core duties of a receptionist right? Wrong. A leading sales training organisation believes one essential receptionist role is being overlooked and at great cost to business.
Doug Tucker, managing director of Sales Commando explains: “The role of a receptionist is pretty much defined as answering, screening and forwarding calls, sorting post, arranging couriers, booking meetings and general secretarial duties. Some even go so far as saying 'meeting and greeting clients'. But what all miss can be summarised in one word - and that is ‘sales’.”
Surely it’s the sales department that does all of the selling? Absolutely not argues Tucker.
“Company structures are pretty much defined with job roles delineated by department but this is so wrong. Take, for example, advertising agencies. They have a creative department and that pretty much implies that the rest of the agency isn’t creative. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Account handlers, media planners, even the folk on the Macs all have a creative role to play in the advertising agency process. The most successful agencies recognise this, as do the most successful companies with sales departments, when considering receptionists as part of their holistic sales effort.”
Sales Commando recently conducted a poll among its international client base, which includes major financial brands plus other well-known blue-chip firms, while some recognised the importance of receptionists in the sales process many others hadn’t made the connection.
Tucker, added: “Receptionists are the first voices heard by new and existing customers calling in to a business and, because first impressions count, a pleasant telephone manner is not enough.
“Receptionists need to have the same level of sales training as the sales department. They are a critical component of the sales process and a first-base showcase of the way a company thinks, breathes and works.”
Following the poll, Sales Commando is encouraging, and witnessing, an increase in the number of receptionists included in corporate sales training and this can only be a good thing for the future prosperity of those businesses concerned.
Tucker also identified an additional bonus: “What we also found was that traditionally receptionists felt out on a limb, away from the hubbub of the back-office, alone on the frontline of their company’s business. Sales training helped them overcome this loneliness and essentially made them feel part of the business they work for.”
As for the pay rise, Tucker simply concludes: “Train your receptionist to the standard of your sales department and you’ll reap rewards. Which means you can, and should, reward your receptionist like-wise.”